A Case of Possible Sexual Transmission of Ebola Virus Is Reported in Liberia — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
May 4, 2015

A Case of Possible Sexual Transmission of Ebola Virus Is Reported in Liberia

By Cara Adler

Edited by Susan Sadoughi, MD

A woman in Liberia may have contracted Ebola from sex with a survivor whose semen harbored viral RNA 6 months after his symptoms started, according to an MMWR article.

The 44-year-old woman was diagnosed with Ebola in March. She reported having unprotected vaginal intercourse with an Ebola survivor 1 week before her symptoms developed. Testing of the man's semen in March — 199 days after onset of his symptoms — showed presence of viral RNA. Partial sequencing of viral RNA from the man's semen and the woman's blood showed a close match. No other possible means of transmission were identified.

Two cases of possible sexual transmission of filovirus were reported in 1999 (Ebola) and 1968 (Marburg virus). Previously, the longest reported time between symptom onset and detection of Ebola in semen was 101 days.

Until more is known about how long the virus persists in body fluids, the CDC recommends avoiding contact with semen from Ebola survivors. In addition, male survivors should always use a condom during sex.

Reader Comments (1)

GWANG KO Physician

I agree with this article. I have worked in Sierra Leone to fight Ebola as a doctor. When I worked, I showed a female patient who have sexual intercourse with husband. The husband was treated for Ebola before 3 months. There was no other possible infectious source for female patient.

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